BAYNHAM, Edmund (b.1577), of Boxley, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. Nov. 1577, o.s. of William Baynham by his w. Martha. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1594, BA 1596; M. Temple 1595. suc. fa. 1597. Kntd. 1599.

Offices Held


‘Pox’ Baynham was specially admitted to the Middle Temple, his securities being his relation John Baynham and his father. It was his father, the Exchequer receiver in Shropshire, who was behind Baynham’s return for Bishop’s Castle, before his 20th birthday. ‘A base captain and rascal’, as Burghley was soon to call him, Baynham next went to Ireland with the Earl of Essex, who knighted him ‘on the sands’, 24 Sept. 1599, just before he returned to England. Like a number of young bloods in Essex’s entourage, Baynham now began to make a nuisance of himself to the authorities. On the night of Tuesday 18 Mar. 1600, he and other drunks made an affray in the Mermaid tavern. At midnight they ‘cast off their cloaks and upper garments, drew rapiers and daggers, marched through the streets’ and attacked the watch. After a scuffle they were locked in the Counter, where Baynham affirmed that he ‘cared not a fart for the lord mayor or any magistrate in London’. The Queen now intervened, arranging for the case to be remitted to Star Chamber ‘for the more and exemplar punishment of so great and outrageous disorder’. They first denied the charges, but when brought before the court on 6 July ‘confessed their faults and submitted themselves to the court, and proved that all was done in the drink and heat’. Each was fined £200 and imprisoned.

Next year Baynham was implicated in the Essex rebellion, and was imprisoned in the Fleet. He was indicted 17 Feb. and his trial took place the day after that of the Earl. He ‘pleaded ignorance for excuse’, was condemned to death, but pardoned (10 Aug.) after paying Sir Walter Ralegh a large sum. He was released from the Queen’s bench prison to house arrest on 13 or 14 Aug.

Baynham’s urge towards self-destruction now drove him to become captain of a profligates’ club in London known as the damned crew and during Elizabeth’s last illness he was committed to the Marshalsea (7 Mar. 1603) for ‘some desperate speeches against’ James. He was out by 30 Mar., by which time James had succeeded, identified himself as a Catholic, became implicated in the Gunpowder plot, and went to Rome. At Fawkes’ trial, the attorney-general called him ‘a fit messenger for the devil’. He spent the remainder of his life roaming Europe. He was at Madrid in May 1610, may have been the Edmund Baynham given money by the English College there in March 1632, and was possibly the ‘Edwardus Banham’ given a meal in the English College at Rome in March 1642.

C142/254/91; PCC 11 Wallop; CSP Ire. 1600, p. 234; APC, xxx. 203; xxxi. 159; xxxii. 153, 154; HMC Var. iv. 325; Manningham Diary (Cam. Soc. xlix), 142n; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 161, 190, 213, 269; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 279, 280, 291, 297, 493; Recusant Hist. x. 96-110.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler